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Can I buy bandwidth from an Internet/VoIP service provider and resell it to end users?

I'm a small business owner in Africa and I have a number of customers wanting to make cheap international calls. Can I buy bandwidth from an Internet/VoIP service provider and resell it to end users? What sort of equipment will I need and what strategy can you advise to optimize my gains if I do this?

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You could always resell broadband service for a local broadband provider; however, you do not have to do that. For the best return you probably want to become a local Internet Telephony Service Provider (ITSP). With this approach, you don't have to provide the broadband connection, just ensure that customers signing up for your service have broadband installed. To set yourself up as an ITSP, you can use the SIP Express Router (SER) from Iptel.org. You can download this and configure it to suit your needs. You'd likely want to rent some space in a data center and install your servers there. You can then have people sign up for accounts and publish your rates on a Website. Note that to determine your rates, you'll have to first decide on the most common countries you wish to terminate calls to. You'll have to develop partnerships with providers that can give you PSTN terminations locally through SIP gateways in those various countries.

This was first published in February 2005

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